This book began as an attempt to hold on to my witty, storytelling mother with the one thing I had to hand. Words. Then, as the enormity of the social crisis my family was part of began to dawn, I wrote with the thought that other forgotten lives might be nudged into the light along with hers.
Dementia is one of the greatest social, medical, economic, scientific, philosophical, and moral challenges of our times. I am a reporter. It became the biggest story of my life. (Sally Magnusson)
Regarded as one of the finest journalists of her generation, Mamie Baird Magnusson's whole life was a celebration of words - words that she fought to retain in the grip of a disease which is fast becoming the scourge of the 21st century. Married to writer and broadcaster Magnus Magnusson, they had five children of whom Sally is the eldest.
As well as chronicling the anguish, the frustrations and the unexpected laughs and joys that she and her sisters experienced while accompanying their beloved mother on the long dementia road for eight years until her death in 2012, Sally Magnusson seeks understanding from a range of experts and asks penetrating questions about how we treat older people; how we can face one of the greatest social, medical, economic, and moral challenges of our times; and what it means to be human.
An extraordinary and deeply personal memoir, a manifesto and a call to arms, in one searingly beautiful narrative.
"Touching... There are many moments of heartwarming sentiment. Literary snowdrops grow out of the barren earth.... This book is the constant, tenuous, but vital reconnection between a child and its mother.... A fine book." (The Sunday Times)
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Compassionate, dispassionate and groundbreaking
Yes, to consider some of the philosophical issues raised about the nature of being and the role of memory in defining a person.
The love, warmth and intelligence.
I listened to an Audible version of this book, narrated by Sally Magnusson. In addition to enjoying her excellent narration, I admire her courage in reading this deeply affecting and personal account.
Dementia is a difficult and poorly understood subject, but one increasingly likely to touch many of us one way or another. Sally Magnusson's account is a touching tribute to her vibrant and vivacious mother whose descent into this disease is meticulously recorded. It's heartwarming, occasionally heartbreaking but filled with warmth, insight and humour. The narrative flows seamlessly back and forth between time and people, with a richly detailed look at both her mother and father, the family background and relationships. We learn a great deal about Scottish and Icelandic influences and Maimie Magnusson's skill with words. I was unaware of her journalistic background and she was clearly held in high regard by press magnates in her early career. Her love of language appears to be something that remained with her, even during darker moments when other parts of her mind had unravelled. Those moments often provided humour but also insight into the person a d her probable awareness. A fitting and memorable tribute to a remarkable lady.
Sally Magnusson's research is extensive. The narrative is filled with fact and figures. Much of it is stark food for thought. But she also raises some challenging philosophical questions about the essence of being; the role of memory and the extent to which it defines 'being'. For that alone, I'm recommending it to everyone. It's a truly remarkable narrative.
It made me cry
Combination of genuine honest emotion and we'll researched facts
The insight into the family relationships and the beautiful narration by Sally Magnusson
The description of family togetherness and mutual support at the time of Magnus's illness
It was both beautiful and heartbreaking. A real triumph to so sensitively capture the essence of Mamie through the dramatic and frightening changes. Sally your mum would be proud !